The Maldives is irresistible with its white beaches, turquoise sea, blue lagoons, colourful marine life and many palm trees. With a temperature of around 30C all days of the year, the Maldives is a dream come true at any time. Tasty cuisine, extremely friendly staff everywhere, and tons of relaxation opportunities makes this country worth visiting at least once in a lifetime.
The Maldives is a country that consists of 26 atolls in a territory of 1192 islands, of which only 200 are inhabited. It is the tiniest Asian country and the smallest islamic nation, located in the Indian Ocean.
Maldives has the most beautiful tropical islands in the world. There are about 300.000 inhabitants in the Maldives, more than 70.000 of them are foreign employees working in the tourism industry, and about 33.000 are illegal immigrants. Tourism, as an industry, came to the Maldives only in 1972 and has been growing fast, though regulated, by the government. Nowadays, tourism is the main source of income, well ahead of the traditional fishing sector that still is the main occupation of the locals.
You can go island hopping between the islands. Enjoy great diving, snorkeling or delicious local food. Seafood, mainly tuna, is the most prominent element of the Maldivian cuisine. Arabian, Indian and oriental tastes have given their flavour to local dishes.
Male, the capital city of the Maldives, is one of the world’s smallest capital cities. You can visit the old bazaar area or the fish market where you can see local fishing boats “dhonis”. In the Northern waterfront there is the local market full of small stalls filled with local produce mainly from the atolls. Admire the 400-year old Friday Mosque, also called Huskuru Miskiiy. Visit The Islamic Centre, which golden dome dominates Malé’s skyline. The mosque is big enough for 5,000 people and it has an Islamic library, conference hall, classrooms and offices. Mulee-aage is a hundred year old palace built by Sultan Mohamed Shamsuddeen III, just in front of the Friday Mosque. Next to it is the National Museum.
The weather in the Maldives is warm, humid and sunny all year round. The average temperature is around 29-32 degrees. April is the hottest month and December the coldest one. February and January are the driest months; the monsoon affects the rainfall from May to September. The best time to visit is between December and April when the sky is clear and humidity lowest.
As the Maldives is an Islamic country, national holidays are on Friday and Saturday, although some shops will still be open. As the islands are tourist resorts, prices are very high.
In the tourist islands, you can enjoy a glass of wine in a restaurant or wear casual clothes. When visiting other inhabited islands it is recommended to wear modest clothing, and women are not expected to show too much skin.
Maldives is the lowest lying country in the world, and it could disappear if the sea level rose too much. President Mohamed Nasheed has announced that buying land from India, Sri Lanka and Australia is possible with tourism generated money in order to save the beautiful islands. You have to pay an additional 10 dollars when leaving the country as “leaving money”. The Maldives is planning to become carbon-neutral using only solar and wind power within a decade.
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